Hometown: Prince George’s County, MD
Branch/MOS: Army National Guard / 68W Medic
What motivated you to apply to HLS?
I applied and was admitted to HLS before enlisting in the military. I knew I wanted to be a leader, working as a lawyer or using a law degree to pivot to policy or even business. Because of this, I applied to HLS as a junior in the Junior Deferral Program. I then enlisted in the National Guard during my deferment, inspired by my brother who is a veteran and my interest in being a decision-maker impacting servicemembers in the future.
What concerns were on your mind when you applied to HLS?
My biggest concern was whether or not law school was worth the financial debt, which I contemplated most once I was accepted to HLS and during my deferral. While many veterans have earned financial assistance, it can be a bit trickier in the Guard or Reserves. If I want to be a leader, do I need to be a lawyer? Ultimately, I decided that while I can practice business without a business degree or be a leader without some leadership program, I cannot be a lawyer without a law degree.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself now?
Do not do anything because people say you should. Do not shy away from anything because it is not popular, or, which is more like me to do, do not shy away from something because it is popular. Imagine you have no social media, cannot tell your friends and family what you are doing, and otherwise make decisions in a vacuum, what would you want to do?
What were you concerned about after being accepted to HLS?
I talked about this a little bit above, so I will talk a bit more about something to consider before being accepted. Be very intentional about where you apply. Know what you are looking for when you apply to law school. So many times I hear people, maybe just venting, suggest they wish they focused on the school ranking instead of thinking finances mattered most, or, even more common, wish they followed the money rather than the ranking. Make sure to think about this when you apply so you do not get swept up in excitement and make a decision that is not you.
How has being a student at HLS addressed those concerns?
I have learned how different priorities of mine in choosing a law school have played out while being in law school. For example, I may have once thought that a small law school would be perfect. I still think there are benefits to small schools; I also think there are benefits to HLS’ size. People talk about how you can have more interest groups and student orgs, but also think about affinity groups: Our Armed Forces Association or Black Law Students’ Association, two of a few groups that have meant a lot to me on campus, are the size of some law school’s average class.
How has your military experience helped you at HLS?
My military experience has kept me grounded. Going to drill monthly makes me remember that there is a world outside of law school, especially as I travel back to Maryland and get to see my family. Being activated as a medic in March 2020 made me less worried about the unknown than others, and more excited to be a part of something.